‘Kiss ’N Ride’ deemed success
The new “Kiss ’N Ride” program—implemented last week at J.W. Walker, Robert Moore, and St. Francis here—is being hailed as a success by the Fort Frances Traffic Safety Committee, which initiated it.
“We’re 99 percent there,” noted local OPP Cst. Anne McCoy.
“Kiss ’N Ride” is billed as a convenient, safe, and efficient procedure for dropping off children at school in the morning and for picking up them up in the afternoon.
Once the parent’s vehicle has come to a complete stop in the designated area, a staff member greets the student(s) and ensures they safely arrive to or depart from school.
The aim of the program is to separate vehicular traffic from school bus traffic to further enhance the safe and efficient transportation process.
OPP officers and local volunteers were on hand each day last week to educate parents and to explain the reasoning for the program.
Even after the first day, Cst. McCoy was very positive about the program’s implementation.
“Most people indicated no major issues, and indicated they understood the changes and felt they were happy that ‘Kiss ‘N Ride’ is in effect to improve the safety,” she remarked.
Cst. McCoy did concede a few minor challenges were faced last Tuesday.
“Some parents elected to not participate, and chose to park and walk over a block to the school,” she noted.
“They are reminded they must park in the designated parking areas and abide by parking bylaws.”
In addition, Cst. McCoy said some parents showed up to the school prior to dismissal, as they had in years past, but were met by staff and volunteers who directed them to return when the “Kiss ’N Ride” lane opened.
“Parents are encouraged to show up at the school when the ‘Kiss ’N Ride’ lane opens because the times coincide with the school bells,” she explained.
Some parents who arrived 10-15 minutes early were frustrated because they weren’t yet familiar with the drop-off and pick-up times.
“Information was given to these parents,” Cst. McCoy said. “Those parents who showed up at the ‘Kiss ’N Ride’ lane opening times had no issues and had very little wait times.”
Parents are reminded of the lane opening times:
•J.W. Walker—8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. sharp;
•Robert Moore—8:25 a.m. and 3:25 p.m. sharp; and
•St. Francis—8:15 a.m. and 3:10 p.m. sharp
“There’s no congestion of vehicles anymore,” Cst. McCoy enthused.
“There’s no one parking on the road and the visibility is clear for students who are walking,” she added.
Cst. McCoy said it took just 12 minutes for students to depart from J.W. Walker School on Friday.
“There are generally no line-ups,” she noted. “The cars just keep moving along.”
“I was unsure of it at first,” admitted a mother whose daughter attends J.W. Walker. “But it does make picking up my child a lot easier.
“I don’t have to find a spot close to the school and bring in the other kids.
“I think that it is a good program,” she continued. “I found it rather efficient.”
“It is definitely less congested at J.W. Walker School,” echoed another parent.
“It seems to be running smoothly and is much safer for our little ones.”
Cst. McCoy said despite a bit of resistance on the first day, more and more parents have begun to use the “Kiss ’N Ride” program and she feels most are now on board.
But she added there might be some grandparents, aunts, or uncles dropping off on occasion who are not yet familiar with the program.
“So we’re still bringing a few people on board,” she remarked, noting volunteers will remain available during the “Kiss ’N Ride” times this week.
Then next week, the OPP will begin enforcement of the no parking/no stopping bylaws in the areas between 8-9 a.m. and 3-4 p.m.
“Parents who are going into the school are reminded to abide by calendar parking,” Cst. McCoy stressed.
She also said the Traffic Safety Committee is continuing to educate students to use crosswalks and to use the safest route possible—despite the area around the schools now being much safer.
As well, the committee is accepting feedback about the “Kiss ’N Ride” program, and will be conducting an evaluation with the help of the Northwestern Health Unit.
It also is preparing a “how to” video of the program in order for other communities to learn from.
“Tom Maranis, who has implemented six ‘Kiss ’N Rides’ in Thunder Bay, said he’s never seen a launch go so well,” Cst. McCoy said.
For more information, visit www.rrdsb.com